‘Disabled are Liberians too,’ she says
Emma Smith has blasted presidential candidates for not having a policy on how to improve the lives of disabled Liberians.
The shy singer said she is sad and broken that none of the presidential aspirants have come out publicly with a plan for people living with disability.
The “Hold Ground” singer noted that while it is not anyone’s fault to be born disabled, it is the responsibility of people who want to take state power to promulgate polices that will benefit the disabled, instead of trying to silence them.
“I have visited these presidential hopefuls’ websites and listened to them discussing their policies for Liberia’s transformation, and I have not been able to find anyone having a policy on disabled people in Liberia. This is the total exclusion of these kinds of Liberians from benefiting from the national cake.
“They are Liberians, too, and they deserve better lives, not poverty. The same way you need their votes, it is the same way they depend on you for a better future. And if these politicians don’t know, let them know now that people living with disabilities experience barriers, difficulties, biases and inequalities every day.
“As a matter of fact, most of the disabled Liberian children are out of school and live miserable lives, which they don’t deserve. Yet, those who want to seek state power don’t care to address them. It is totally frustrating and sad,” Emma Smith said.
For the last 50 years, Emma noted, successive governments, including this one, have neglected the disabled community, a neglect that she said will continue due to the fact that none of the presidential hopefuls and other politicians want to correct this wrong, citing it as why none of them have it as a priority when elected.
“I don’t think that these presidential hopefuls care about Liberians. Silencing these people is a clear example that they don’t care,” she said. “And their attitudes not to have a clear vision for disabled Liberians is a disproportionate and brutal impact on the disabled community, who are now among the poorest and most excluded in the country.”
Emma, who is the founder and executive director of Emma Smith Recovery Life Foundation Election, a non-governmental organization that caters to the less privileged, also said that she was expecting that during this election year, politicians will see the need to address the disabled community, who have been overlooked in the past.
“This is the truth and the suffering of these people has been long due to the fact that none of the past governments had them as a priority. This is because disabled Liberians have not been considered as a priority. I see this as total wickedness.|
“And it pains my heart to see people who want to become president of Liberia don’t think that the disabled can make meaningful contributions to the development and renewal of our country,” added the tough talking singer.